The month of March is quickly coming to a close, which means one thing for the National Football League: the NFL Draft is coming into focus for all the teams around the league.
The Buffalo Bills, like most other teams around the league, did their best to add to the roster through free agency, in an effort to hone in on just a few positions for the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft. While the Bills added some solid pieces, they still have plenty of needs and have a great opportunity to add blue chip players in late April.
With free agency winding down, my latest look at how the 2017 NFL Draft could shake out... and it goes all the way to the Bills last pick in the second round (if you've read this far, congratulations... you just got a bona fide #SpoilerAlert):
(*Note: Mock Drafts are, and always should be, for entertainment purposes only.)
1) - EDGE Myles Garrett
- Without a true contender of a quarterback to be the number one overall selection, the Browns will take Myles Garrett, which seems to be as close to a sure thing you'll find in the NFL Draft this year. Can he become a star? The potential is there, and he could make an immediate impact on the Browns roster.
2) **TRADE (from SF) - DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford
- The Jaguars are going hard after trying to build a winner this season, and adding one more edge rusher could be the thing that puts them over the top in their minds. Thomas would fit quite well into the scheme the Jaguars are running, and the 49ers can pick up a little more value in their roster rebuilding ways.
Trade Details: JAX gets 2nd overall. SF gets 4th overall, 68th overall, 222nd overall, 2018 4th Round Pick
3) - S Jamal Adams, LSU
4) (from JAX) - DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
5) (from LAR) - CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
6) - QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina
- The first of the quarterbacks goes off the board, and the Jets take a swing at the quarterback that will likely define the Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan era with the team. Having Josh McCown is good to help develop the young player, but the Jets seem like a prime candidate to select a quarterback early this year.
7) - S Malik Hooker, Ohio State
8) - CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
9) - DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
10) **TRADE (from BUF) - RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
- Fournette fell down the board a bit, which created a big opportunity for the Buffalo Bills to move down from 10th overall and add another player to the fold. The motivation is pretty clear for the Bills: they have a lot of roster spots to fill and only hold six picks this year. In Fournette, the Buccaneers have a chance to complete their offense and have a formidable shot at the playoffs in 2017. They're close, and this is a move teams that are close will make.
Trade Details: Tampa Bay gets 10th overall, 171st overall. Buffalo gets 19th overall, 50th overall, 125th overall
11) - ILB Reuben Foster, Alabama
12) (from PHI) - TE O.J. Howard, Alabama
13) - WR Mike Williams, Clemson
- The Cardinals end up with the first wide receiver off the board, with the Bills moving down from 10th overall. Williams takes the place of Michael Floyd in the offense and provides a physical, high-pointing type of wide receiver that can really go up and contend for any catch. It was a close race between Williams and Corey Davis.
14) (from MIN) - CB Tre'Davious White, LSU
15) - LB Haason Reddick, Temple
16) - WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
- The Ravens are in need of a quality starting wide receiver, and with Corey Davis, they now have one. He can likely step in and start right away for the Ravens, giving Joe Flacco another target for the upcoming season. The Ravens desperately need a dependable option at wide receiver moving forward.
17) - RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
18) - S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
19) (from TB) - TE David Njoku, Miami (FL)
- Had the Bills stayed at 10th overall in this mock draft, I think Clemson WR Mike Williams, Western Michigan WR Corey Davis, and Alabama TE O.J. Howard would all have been in play. However, with an opportunity to add another significant selection that can impact the roster this season is too good of an opportunity to pass up. With this selection, it came down to David Njoku and Washington WR John Ross. I ended up going with the 6-foot-4, 246-pound Njoku for the Bills because of multiple reasons that make him a logical selection. First, on the free agent market this offseason, the Bills were reportedly interested in multiple 'move' tight ends, that offer quite a bit from an athletic perspective -- something that Njoku provides to an offense. He also offers versatility, or as Sean McDermott terms it, "positional flexibility." Njoku can line up attached to the offensive line, or out wide. He would provide Tyrod Taylor with a mismatch of a target, especially if they have both Charles Clay and him on the field. Third, you have to look at the value of the draft this year, and at the other positions the Bills might be looking at with this pick (wide receiver, cornerback, safety), starters can be found in the second and third rounds. Now with an additional second round pick, that gives them that much more clearance to take a player that has potential to become one of the best in the league at his position. It all makes sense, and with what we've come to know from the new Bills head coach, Njoku crosses off a lot of boxes here.
20) - OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
21) - RB Alvin Kamara, Tennessee
22) - G Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
23) - QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
24) - WR John Ross, Washington
25) - CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
26) - OT Garrett Bolles, Utah
27) - LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
28) - DE Taco Charlton, Michigan
29) - RB Christian McCaffery, Stanford
30) - DE/OLB Charles Harris, Missouri
31) - EDGE/LB T.J. Watt, Wisconsin
32) (from NE) - EDGE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
33) - S Budda Baker, Washington
34) - WR Curtis Samuel, Ohio State
35) - TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss
36) - QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
37) - WR Chris Godwin, Penn State
38) - OT Cam Robinson, Alabama
39) - CB Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado
40) - RB Joe Mixon, Oklahoma
41) - LB Jarrad Davis, Florida
42) - CB Kevin King, Washington
43) - RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma
44) - QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
- I think there is a very real possibility one of the top four quarterbacks will be available for the Bills with their second round selection, and it's more likely that it's either Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer or Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes -- raw players with great skill sets that need time to learn the position. Mahomes is one of the most intriguing players in the draft because he makes some really difficult throws look routine, and possesses ability to keep plays alive against all odds. Bringing back Tyrod Taylor affords the Bills the opportunity to select a quarterback in the second or third round of the NFL Draft and then to develop that player for the next season or two. Mahomes certainly needs some work to acclimate himself to an NFL offense, but he really does have all the ability you could want at the position. The Bills have to build toward both 2017 and the future, and the Bills have been very careful to not mix messages about their thoughts on Taylor, who is the quarterback "at this time." Another second-round pick certainly doesn't help the Bills taking a quarterback with this pick. Mahomes' upside is too good to pass up here.
45) - CB Teez Tabor, Florida
46) - EDGE Tim Williams, Alabama
47) - EDGE Carl Lawson, Auburn
48) - G Dan Feeney, Indiana
49) - WR Zay Jones, East Carolina
50) (from TB) - CB Quincy Wilson, Florida
- After taking a swing on a quarterback at 44, they bring in a cornerback in Quincy Wilson to compete with Kevon Seymour to be the starting cornerback opposite Ronald Darby this season. The Bills could really either go with a cornerback or a safety, but one significant addition to the secondary will be needed at some point in the draft. Wilson carries the reputation as a ball-hawking player that is well-versed in zone coverage. With the amount of talent at the cornerback position, a good player is likely going to be available for the Bills in the second round, and they get a pretty good one and a player that could even sneak into the end of the first round, in Quincy Wilson.